Ever since, he heard from his friend 4 months back, My 11 year old son was interested in a science camp held by Butterfly fields, an Indian backyard science program.
This dussehra holidays, he was very keen on joining this camp although he was busy with his friends playing football & cricket matches and was also catching up with his cartoons and Common wealth games on TV.
The advertisement in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper were very attractive and claimed they would teach innovative science concepts in a playful method for 5 days and it would be followed with a contest and the winner would win a hamper worth Rs1000. They would also provide all the material required for the camp and a free back pack worth Rs250 - all these for Rs 1200.
One of the 6 camp centre was close by home and so decided this was the right opportunity to enroll him, since he showed interest.
The concepts taught was about magnetic levitation, piston pump, mysteries of chemistry, paddle boat and the 6th day children from all the centres were taken to the main center where they all assembled for a competition based on the principles taught. They were also told about the applications of the above concepts and before each day’s session began, the children were given a lot of science books and encyclopedias to find information on the day’s experiments.
After the class, he would display his experiments in our golu (a display of dolls during Navarathri), and when people who came to our house asked him about the principles involved, he would conveniently give the scientific jargon like potential energy, kinetic energy etc., a miss and talk in simple words like push-pull action, spring enery etc., all with a ‘chaltha hai’ attitude and an eye on TV.(His mind would be in CW Games)
The contest day coincided with Saraswathi puja day, and I was slightly sad that we had to rush through the puja and send him to the contest. He was forced to have a hurried puja brunch. We dropped him at the nearby centre and all the children were pooled and taken to the parent center for the contest at 10.am where children from the other branches also assembled. ( More than 30)
By 1.00p.m, Sharun called me from his facilitator's mobile telling that he won the contest and the prize hamper.(The hamper had a board game and a card game designed by Butterflyfields)
Sharun sailed through the prelims by doing two DIY things one a parachute and other was fixing a two pin plug (these were not taught during the program, but an instruction paper was given at the contest center) and a 10 mark paper on the applications of the principles taught.
In the finals where he was pitted against 3 finalists, he did a time bound experiment based on Newton’s 3rd law of motion called Newton’s car with the help of poker( similar to screw driver),card board wheels,Kabab sticks,, bent straw, balloon etc.
The camp, the contest are all over now, but the hangover of the science camp is all around my house. My wash basin has turned brown, thanks to the mysteries of chemistry. There are water droplets all over the ivory colored vitrified tiled house, we have to carefully watch our steps or else the floor would turn into a skating rink , all credit to the piston pump and on our bath tub water you will find a 'pet' water bottle with two chopsticks and marble disguised as a paddle boat and all soap dishes in the wash rooms and the skewer sticks from the kitchen are getting converted to motor cars and paddle boats.
Now I have an innovator at home, Thanks to Butterfly fields,